For some, dark mode is fairly new, but for many dark mode has been around for a while and was actually a popular mod implemented in Android custom ROMs back when I lived in that world. Many mainstream websites are starting to offer a dark mode or dark theme now. Facebook, Twitter, MeWe, and even Google are all rolling out their dark mode versions.
But the fact remains that not all websites offer this, and many will probably never offer it. Enter Dark Reader for Safari. I’ve been testing out alternative browsers for the past few months and landed back on Safari to have a go with it again. It’s been many years since I’ve used Safari, opting instead for Microsoft Edge, Firefox, and, more recently, Brave Browser.
As I’ve been diving back into Safari over the past few weeks, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the improvements Apple has made to its native browser. I especially love the redesigned and more useful Start Page. Whatever they did with this, it now works much better for my workflow. But I’ve also discovered more extensions than ever before that are useful to me. Dark Reader is one of these.
Basically, Dark Reader turns dark mode on for every website you visit on Safari. Once you install the Dark Reader from the Mac AppStore, you will be asked to turn it on under Safari Extensions. Turn it on, and the Dark Reader logo will appear on the toolbar. Here you can turn Dark Reader ON, OFF, or set to AUTO. You can also disable Dark Reader on any website from here. This is handy when the site you’re on already has dark mode enabled.
When a website already has dark mode enabled, Dark Reader can make things look a little wonky so being able to disable it by website is useful. You can also adjust the brightness and contrast from the toolbar menu. You can also switch from Dynamic to Filter mode; Dynamic seems to give the best results.
I’ve been using Dark Reader for a few weeks now, and it works very well, but it’s also not perfect. As I mentioned, some sites already have dark mode enabled, and Dark Reader still changes that website’s colors. If you don’t know that site has dark mode enabled, the site may look a bit off. It’s not a huge deal cause you can toggle it off and check to see if that’s the issue.
Another problem with Dark Reader is that it has occasionally farted out on me and doesn’t allow access to the menu. In this case, I go to Safari extensions in preferences and toggle it off and back on. Then I can get back to normal—mostly minor annoyances for me.
You can find Dark Reader on the Mac AppStore, it does have a small cost, but it is worth it to me. Dark Reader also does not collect any personal data, which is a plus.
Dark mode isn’t for everyone, but I have found that it really helps eye strain for me. I even use it on the backend of our website, with a few hiccups now and then. There may be similar solutions for Chrome, Edge, and others that I am no aware of.